High acceptability of HIV self-testing in a randomized trial among transgender women and men who have sex with men, Myanmar

Andrea L. Wirtz, Soe Naing, Sandra Hsu Hnin Mon, Aung Zayar Paing, Ei Khine Mon, Kaung Htet Thu, Jasmine M. Truong, Belinda Jivapong, Emily Clouse, Stefan D. Baral, Chris Beyrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

HIV self-testing (HIVST) shows promise to improve HIV diagnosis among those seeking privacy and anonymity in HIV testing. This may include sexual and gender diverse populations, who experience disproportionately high burdens of stigma and HIV globally. To inform potential scale-up of HIVST in Myanmar, we implemented a community-led, mixed-methods randomized trial in Yangon. Adult trans-feminine individuals and cisgender men who have sex with men were recruited via respondent-driven sampling. Participants (N =577) completed a baseline survey and were randomized to community-based HIV testing services (HTS) or HIVST. One-third of participants reported lifetime HIV testing. Over half (59.4%) returned for a second study visit to report their test result and test acceptability, which was lower among HTS-assigned participants compared to those assigned to HIVST (55.6% vs. 63.1%; p =0.096). Participants reported that both HIVST and HTS were easy to access, test, and interpret/understand the results of their HIV test. Ninety percent of HTS-assigned participants indicated they would test regularly if they could access HIVST. Qualitative participants (N =20) described that the convenience and privacy afforded by HIVST may increase the availability and coverage of testing. Taken together, these results suggest HIVST is an acceptable, low-barrier complement to community-based HTS for key populations in Myanmar.

Keywords

  • community-led research
  • HIV testing
  • Myanmar
  • sexual and gender minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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